No need to panic or procrastinate for your next paper. Sit down, grab your pencil, and follow these steps to be successful.
1. Make a checklist.
Write down on a piece of paper everything you know you have to do for the assignment. This might include how many sources you are required to have, the types of sources you need, how many words or pages it has to be, the format it has to be written in, and most importantly, anything your professor told you to include in your paper. This way, you can make sure you're on the right track before actually writing your paper.
2. Find your sources and print them out.
It's easier to write when all of your sources are right in front of you.
3. Read through your sources and cross out excess information.
Take a pen or black Sharpie and cross out any information on the page that you know you don't need or won't use. Looking at an article or scholarly piece of text can be overwhelming at first glance. The good thing is that there is a lot of the information on the page that you most likely will not need. Get rid of it. This can help you block out all the extra details that you don't need and let you focus on the parts that will be useful in your paper. Out of sight, out of mind.
4. Make a list of all your sources as you find them.
Your citation page is easy points, as long as you remember to include it and include every source's citation. The best way to go about doing this is to keep a list of all the sources as soon as you find them. This way, you don't have to go searching for them later trying to figure out their APA or MLA citation.
5. Draft out each paragraph.
Design the layout of your paper and bullet point under each paragraph the main points you want to include. Jot down ideas or quotes you found that you know will be useful in that section of your paper. This will make writing the actual paper a lot easier because you already know what you want to say in each part. Now you're just expanding on that idea.
6. Begin writing your paper.
As you start taking information and quotes from your sources, cross it out from the article or text you got it from. By doing this, you are ensuring that you are using a source as much as possible, which helps make your papers longer. Take as much as you can from a source as long as it is helpful and useful. That is, of course, as long as you cite the info and are not plagiarizing the author's work.
7. Print out your draft.
Read it out loud and start marking up your paper. Look for words or phrases you are overusing throughout and look up other ways to describe what you are trying to say. Look back at your checklist and double check everything you did your professor asked of you.
8. Revise, edit, then submit!
Once you have made all your revisions and changes and are happy with your product, submit your paper. You did it. Your paper is finished, and now you can start the process all over again for the next paper that is due. There will always be another paper that has to be completed.
If you follow these steps, you'll be turning in "A" quality papers to your professors faster than you can ask your professor, "Extension, please?"